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Entrepreneur America: Lessons from Inside Rob Ryan's High-Tech Start-Up Boot Camp Hardcover – January 23, 2001

16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

With $2.5 million in venture capital, Rob Ryan founded a tech company that sold for $22 billion 10 years later. He now operates a "boot camp" in rural Montana for wannabes from promising start-ups interested in following in his footsteps. In Entrepreneur America, he shares personal experiences along with lessons learned from his mentoring program of the same name. Chapters titled with Silicon Valley slang (like "Do the Dogs Like the Dog Food?" and "Sucking the Air out of the Room") help readers assess their readiness to meet with venture capitalists, determine whether consumers really need what they're offering, examine core competencies and market position, measure how the product or service matches the intended audience, and compile a winning business plan. Two additional chapters focus on "how to become number one and stay number one" by managing and hiring effectively, dealing with directors, and handling other responsibilities that become critical once an idea gets off the ground. Ryan shows how some of the 50-plus concepts that passed through his program proceeded afterwards, and includes exercises and other tools for those hoping to replicate their victories and avoid their mistakes. The result should prove practical and inspiring for anyone shaping a new business in today's increasingly demanding environment. --Howard Rothman

From Publishers Weekly

Ryan, founder of Ascend Communication (which he sold to Lucent for $25 billion), now spends his time offering guidance to entrepreneurs, particularly recent college graduates intent on launching businesses. Ryan won't invite just anyone to his Montana ranch for strategy sessions: his selection criteria include a solid business plan, a working prototype and clear ideas for the direction of the business. Ryan's upbeat approach and practical advice will be welcome in today's Internet-crazed economy. With extensive online and broadcast publicity, this book should easily find its audience.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harperbusiness; 1st edition (January 23, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006662066X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0066620664
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,254,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Several years ago, an article in Inc. magazine generated so much interest that it led to the publication of a book, Semper Fi, in which Dan Carrison and Rod Walsh advocate a "business boot camp" based on a model provided by the U.S. Marine Corps. In his own book, Ryan provides a number of invaluable "lessons" which can be learned by those who attend his High-Tech Start-up Book Camp in Montana. (Actually, these same "lessons" can be of great value to anyone else who is also involved with launching or developing a start-up company.) Ryan organizes his material within seven chapters, following an approach "built on my years of negotiating the peaks and valleys of running (and financing) a successful company. [He founded Ascend Communications in 1989. Under his leadership, its revenue climbed from $16-million to $1.3-billion in five years and was eventually purchased by Lucent Technologies for $22-billion in 1999.] It's a carefully staged process that beings with building the proper team and ends with managing your board of investors." In Chapter 1, Ryan discusses several types of Entrepreneurial Wannabes. In subsequent chapters he guides his reader through the "carefully staged process" and concludes with an Epilogue in which he explains why only a few start-up companies make it and why most others don't.
With all due respect to Ryan's insightful comments and recommendations, one of this book's greatest benefits is derived from the series of questions which he poses. For example, after a 3,000-mile journey from Boston to meet with Ryan at his Roaring Lion, one entrepreneur set up to present a slide presentation. Before it began, Ryan asked "Why would anyone want your product? What is the application? What is the value proposition to the customer? Who is the customer?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John Grounds on February 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I must admit that I hadn't heard of this book or Rob when I started looking for advice on VC funding. However, as soon as I read the first few pages I knew I had a winner.
This book is an absolute must read for anyone that is starting up a business. The information is vital to helping you nail down your value proposition, figuring out what is the core of your business, and how to continue the growth. I originally thought it was a book on how to get funded, but I found it was much more.
Being a marketer myself, I noticed the suttle "soft-sell" of the entreprenuer America program...however, it was so convincing I want to attend!! Our company is in the beginning stages of putting together a capital campaign, and I would love to have Rob show us the way.
With an MBA from a top 5 school, countless certificates from "how-to" seminars, and a huge library, I thought I was a solid "entreprenuer"...but this book quickly proved I still have a lot of growing to do....time for me to get more "guts and brains", and less "dreams".
Highly recommended!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Miroslav Chodak on July 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Rob Ryan knows what he is talking about. His style is free of fluff, full of useful real-life examples and very much to the point. He walks you through all the essentials of building a viable business and gives you extremely practical checklists for each stage.
Here are some of the questions you will find an answer to: What are the core values of an entrepreneur? How do you measure up? When are you ready to talk to venture capitalists? How to think about your business idea? How to find out if you will have customers? When to approach them and how to talk to them? How to test your new product? How to grow your business? How to differentiate from your competition? How to blow away your competition? ...and many more.
Keep in mind, though, that this book is written for technology entrepreneurs and may not be equally applicable for every industry. As for myself, this book immediately claimed a prominent place in my library and I am using it very frequently.
Conclusion: Buy this one; you will not be disappointed!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Booth on September 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Rob Ryan is not just some 'guy' spouting off about 'how to succeed in getting funding for your buisness'. Rob has REALLY been 'there' ... and still is THERE!
He's a MAJOR success: well worth emmulating. He's a living example of what he tells you in this book. It's real-world. It's applicable. BUT's NOT for everyone - especially those who "can't handle the truth"!
If you are serious about developing entrepreneurial ventures, whether in technology or another area, then you will need to know HOW to raise the capital. In this case, this book is 'just what the doctor ordered'.
You will not only enjoy the book, but Rob has built a great web site to compliment and augment it. The site is repleat with threaded discussions; tutorials and more. This IS a serious "HOW TO SUCCEED" book.
Get it today and begin your grandest venture yet... SUCCEED!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul A. Broni on June 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It's very seldom that I get this excited about a book, but "Entrepreneur America" is without a doubt one of the few books that every aspiring high-tech entrepreneur should read. (Actually, it's a pretty good read regardless of the business you want to be in!)
Most of the entrepreneurs whom I've encountered over the years have not taken steps either to focus their business or do their market research. This book drives home the importance -- and the process -- of clarifying your thoughts, thereby allowing you to develop a business plan that is logical, defensible, unique, and coherent, not to mention -- fundable!
Do not write your business plan or approach even one venture capitalist without reading, understanding, and implementing the lessons to be learned from this book.
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